Gayle King Speaks to Breonna Taylor's Boyfriend In a Heartbreaking Interview

McKenzie Jean-Philippe
·3 mins read
Photo credit: CBS This Morning
Photo credit: CBS This Morning

From Oprah Magazine

In his first public interview since the tragic police shooting of his girlfriend Breonna Taylor, Kenneth Walker sat down with Gayle King on CBS Morning to recount the night Taylor was killed.

During the sit down, he explained that they were watching a movie in bed when they heard loud banging on the door. Walker told King that he and Taylor asked who was at the door "several times," but heard no answer. This is a detail that has been repeatedly contested in the months since the incident, as law enforcement insists they introduced themselves as policeman while executing a "no-knock warrant" to investigate Taylor's ex-boyfriend for narcotics possession. Walker and several witnesses (all but one) say otherwise.

"I'm a million percent sure that nobody identified themselves," he said.

The couple then got up to answer as Walker, a licensed gun owner, retrieved his firearm. The police then broke down the front door, and Walker fired a single shot, because he says he believed they were intruders. In return, the three policeman conducting the raid—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove—fired a combined total of 32 shots.

"If it was the police at the door, and they just said they were the police, me or Breonna didn't have a reason not to open the door to see what they wanted," Walker said. "I don't think I've ever heard so many gunshots all at the same time. I've never been to war, but I assume that's what war probably sounds like."

He went on the explain that once the shooting ended, he called both he and Taylor's moms to tell them about the situation, but he also called 911 for help. At the time, he still didn't know officers had conducted the raid.

"I wouldn't call the police on the police. That doesn't make sense," he said.

It wasn't until Walker left the apartment that he realized law enforcement were the ones to fire upon himself and Taylor in an investigation a policeman later told Walker was a "miscommunication." No narcotics were found in Taylor's apartment.

In the months since, Taylor's death—along with George Floyd's and Ahmed Arbery's—has been at the center of a revitalized national Black Lives Matter movement, with thousands across the country calling for justice in Breonna Taylor's name. And though her family received $12 million in a wrongful death settlement from the City of Louisville in September, just one officer (Hankinson) was charged in connection to her killing. He was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for shots that were not fired at Taylor, but in the homes of neighbors.

"To the world she's just a hashtag, a picture, and all of that," Walker said. "But to me it was much more. More than a girlfriend too. I think that's what I want the world to know the most. That was my best friend… The most important person pretty much to me on Earth. And they took her."

He added at the end of the interview: "You probably wouldn't even know about it. If I didn't live, you probably wouldn't even know about Breonna Taylor."

State attorney general Daniel Cameron only recommended charges of wanton endangerment to the grand jury. An anonymous juror has since requested that recordings of the jury proceedings be released to the public and the jurors be allowed to speak to the media.

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